POSITION STATEMENT

The StandUp4Music Foundation Champions Music Programs for all children…..

 

THE PROBLEM
When it comes to balancing school budgets, the arts - and particularly music - often suffer most from spending cuts. It’s part of a cycle that began in the 1970s, when, in the hope of averting a fiscal crisis, schools laid off thousands of arts teachers. Consequently, many school music programs have either ended or are left having to do much more with much less. Millions of elementary school students across the country do not have access to a music class. Many schools cut back arts programs despite research suggesting potential academic benefits. Cuts continue even though there is strong evidence that the arts contribute to a complete education.

Cutting music from the curriculum denies students a vital resource that would benefit them at every stage of their lives and not just in the classroom. So why is it that the cuts continue despite the fact that we all generally appreciate what a musical education has to offer? We have decided that our school system should be a prolonged process of university entrance, and that is what dominates Board of Ed discussions.

The StandUp4Music Foundation champions music programs for all children!

Many music programs pose huge budget concerns for schools. Music programs not only cost a lot of money because of the required instruments, playing space and various concerts, but they also require schools to hire extra music faculty and instructors. In addition to costing schools a lot of money, music programs may cost students' parents a great deal of money, because they must buy their students instruments, other supplies or lessons.

Schools in wealthier neighborhoods that faced budget cuts were able to make up for their losses through private donations, while schools in impoverished neighborhoods have not. As a result, schools in areas serving children from low-income families have reduced or completely cut their arts and music programs. These programs tend to be the first casualties of budget cuts in hard-pressed school districts already struggling to meet other demands of the academic curriculum, and they are rarely restored. 

Surveys show that parents and teachers want more quality music programs in schools, more professional development for teachers, and more instruments for students. They also believe music should be a required class in middle school and that students should have a chance to learn an instrument as early as elementary school. 

THE POTENTIAL
Music develops the mind and teaches students hard work, dedication, responsibility and teamwork. When a musician performs in an ensemble, they must rehearse with the other members of the group in order to make sure that they all work together. This means playing in the same key, time signature and other factors. This also goes back to the discipline that music teaches students – musicians must be patient when working with others in order to achieve the outcome of performing beautiful music together.

Music and math are related. Recognizing patterns by understanding musical aspects like beats, rhythm and scales can aid students when learning math skills such as division and fractions. Exposing students to the study of music is just as important as exposing them to reading or science. It teaches a new ways of thinking just as a subject like math does.

A recent Rockefeller Foundation Study found that music majors have the highest rate of admittance to medical school, followed by biochemistry and the humanities.

According to the National Association for Music Education, one of the benefits of learning how to play an instrument in school is that it teaches students discipline. Learning an instrument requires a lot of time, commitment and practice. Setting aside the time to practice scales or a piece of music for band competition teaches how to dedicate time to achieve a specific goal. Band allows a different place for kids to fit in when they don’t fit into other stereotypes like sports. 

African American and Latino students do better in school, have higher graduation rates and a better chance of getting into college when exposed to music education on an ongoing basis in K1- 12. 

THE PROMISE
The StandUp4Music Foundation’s National Music Education Restoration Project will help fund life changing music education for thousands of children across America. One element of the restoration project consists of a unique program that systematically works to identify and prioritize music education needs criteria, while working to insure that music education teachers, whom do not currently have a music education program in their school, have an opportunity to receive funding to start one and more importantly, the tools necessary to sustain one.

Additionally, The StandUp4Music Foundation will seek out and support the most effective, dedicated and innovative efforts already underway in local communities across the United States in the battle to restore music education in all its forms.

Fortunately, there are a number of nonprofit programs that vary in scope and focus that are attempting to shore up the widening cracks in music education. All operate on the theory that music is important and can change lives. Some even have a stated objective of literally giving every child in America access to a musical instrument. It works like this: the local school district identifies a school that would qualify, and that school applies. If approved, the school is offered a $30,000 grant package, and can choose between “band,” “string,” “guitar lab,” “keyboard lab” and “mariachi” instrument packages.

Another foundation donates slightly used, blemished instruments to nonprofits and/or school programs that, among other criteria, must have been running smoothly for at least a year and do not deny participation based on musical ability. Consider the idea of some great, slightly tarnished old Fender Jaguar getting played by a kid who’s never picked up a guitar. 

And then there’s a humanitarian project that supports musicians and music schools in conflict areas and developing countries. The project collects instruments, repairs them and gives them a second life in 16 projects in Africa, the Middle East and Central America. They also train instrument repairers and offer the exchange of teaching skills.

One organization has placed more than 11,000 instruments in the hands of aspiring children whose trajectory has been forever altered by the life-changing gift of music. They have delivered anything from trombones and violins to xylophones and guitars to children in 49 states and 25 countries.

A non-profit charity organization supporting music education around the world partners with music stars, celebrity ambassadors and music sponsors to promote music projects and events at local schools – educating kids through music. Along with their music partners, they feature news, events, video and press coverage of the events.

A truly inspiring charity has given more than 650,000 under-served school-children across the U.S. access to fun, engaging, music classes and brand new instruments at no cost to the students, teachers, or school districts. The charity trains public school teachers and donates all of the instruments, curricular resources and support they need to ensure that their kids receive the right to rock! What makes all this even more impressive is that they do more than just donate instruments like guitars, drums and keyboards, they build lasting music programs that focus on teaching kids to perform, improvise and compose the popular music genres that they already know and love.